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Curriculum and Instruction | Higher Education and Teaching | Online and Distance Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted the higher education sector all over the world and has been most disruptive to residential academic institutions that offer mostly, if not wholly, in-person instruction. Of the 1.5 million college faculty members in the United States, about 70% had never taught a virtual course prior to COVID-19 (Hechinger & Lorin, 2020). During spring 2020, colleges had to pivot to remote instruction without much notice for faculty or students to prepare. Some referred to this as “emergency remote teaching” as it did not allow adequate time to thoughtfully plan out a course for a remote format (Hodges, et al., 2020). Institutions turned to web conferencing platforms such as Zoom to allow students and faculty to meet in real time and replicate the face-to-face experience as closely as possible, with mixed results. For some, it offered a space for class connection during a time of isolation from campus. Others experienced Zoom fatigue. Over the summer and fall of 2020, many colleges invested in training programs to help faculty design and deliver their courses in a remote format, beyond just using Zoom (Johnson, 2020). This article describes an online faculty development program that was created for faculty at a residential liberal arts university that, prior to COVID-19, offered the majority of courses on campus in-person. The objective of the program was to help faculty plan out and design their remote courses in the Blackboard Learning Management System using an instructional design framework known as backward design. This program ended up receiving the 2021 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Training and Professional Development.